What is Presbycusis?
Presbycusis is age-related sensorineural hearing loss which results from degeneration of the cochlea or the associated structures. It is also known to be a cumulative effect of aging on hearing.
Over a period of time, this condition makes the individual unable to hear the sound at progressively low frequency, clearly.
It is caused by the combination of genetics, cumulative environmental exposure, and changes related to aging.
It is actually the most common cause of hearing loss affecting people after the age of 65 years.
Causes of Presbycusis
Presbycusis occurs due to age-related changes within the inner ear, within the middle ear and along the nerve pathways to the brain.
The following are the factors that can be the cause of Presbycusis:
Exposure to loud music at the workplace, when in traffic, at a construction site or being around any loud noise can lead to presbycusis.
Genetic factors can contribute to developing this type of hearing loss as people age.
There are few medical conditions that can lead to presbycusis such as:
In these conditions, the hearing is affected due to the affected blood supply and the essential hair cells are dependent on good blood supply.
Certain medications such as antibiotics, aspirin, and chemotherapy affect the ear and nerve supply and it may lead to presbycusis.
Presenting Symptoms Of Presbycusis
The Primary Symptoms Show As The Presbycusis Start Occurring Area As Follows:
- The dullness of sounds and speech
- Difficulty in using the telephone
- Loss of directional sounds
- Difficulty in understanding speech
- Inability to hear television, radio, music, and audio sounds at low volume
The Secondary Symptoms Of Presbycusis Are:
- Increase in sensitivity to certain volumes and sound frequencies
- Ringing, buzzing or hearing of weird sounds, even when no sound is present
- These symptoms may affect social interaction deteriorating the quality of life. The individual with presbycusis might experience social isolation, depression and lowered self-esteem.
Treatments For Presbycusis
There are different ways in which presbycusis can be treated and managed.
If you experience any type of hearing difficulty, it is important to see a hearing health professional, who can treat the hearing ability.
The doctor rules out the other causes of hearing and also looks for the signs of inflammation and infection present, if any.
The treatment of presbycusis requires time and patience and the approach involves different healthcare specialist such as an audiologist, psychologists, neurologist, and otolaryngologist.
Most of the people go for treatment only after presbycusis has progressed as they might not be aware of the extent of hearing loss, as it happens gradually.
There are no drugs to restore hearing loss due to presbycusis. The effects can be lessened by symptoms management in case of severe injuries.
The treatment options for presbycusis include:
People with hearing difficulty depend on the visual cues which include lip-reading, interpreting postures and gestures and understanding sign language.
Telling family and friends about the hearing difficulty would also prove to be helpful as they would communicate in other ways.
A hearing aid is another option for those who find it hard to hear in a noisy situation.
It is an electronic device that is worn behind the ear. It is an amplifier that magnifies the sound and relays it to the ear.
Cochlear implants are used to restore hearing in people with a severe hearing issue. It is a surgically implanted neuroprosthetic device that bypasses the normal acoustic hearing process to replace it with electric signals which stimulate the auditory nerves.
It is extremely effective and improves the hearing in people when the hearing aids become ineffective.
The course of treatment and symptom management can improve the quality of life of the individual. It also helps with the hearing loss that can lead to social stress, depression, anxiety, and issues related to self-esteem.